God Is NOT A Trini

Exactly…..

Critics May Lie

Is it possible that for this hurricane season we can get rid of the “God is a Trini” term?

Let me put it another way.

Is it possible that for this hurricane season we can stop being so damn insensitive to the millions of people in the region who have literally had their lives destroyed because ‘God is a Trini’.

Now I know nobody really believes it. Every country has their own sayings that only make sense there. It is just our way of explaining why several times we have been directly in the path of a hurricane only to find that it suddenly changed its mind a few miles out and went in another direction. God must be a Trini. *shrug*

However, I don’t think my Trinbagonian brothers and sisters who raise this ‘nothing can touch us cause God is a Trini’ flag high every year understand the depth…

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10 Tips for the Average Joe on working with a Small Construction Company

So you are taking the plunge and building your own home. You’ve finally decided to go ahead with those improvements to your home or office. Before you dip into your pocket think about these ten things.

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  1. You are the Project Manager

When you decide to build a house or complete any type of renovations on your property with your hard earned money or loan please remember that you are the Project Manager. This is extremely important. Private individuals without fraud insurance handing over large sums of cash to any construction company to complete their work is not advised. You or a member of your family must dedicate time to working with this company on a daily/weekly basis to get your job done.

Do not relinquish your hold on your resources! Always ask questions so you can make decisions in your favor.      

  1. Get an agreement.

Before you pay you need to sign and get a copy of a contract which includes what you are paying for and when to expect it. It should also outline who is your contact at the company and the fact that you need to be consulted for approval at agreed stages of the project. Always refer to and keep to this contract, changes to the contract should be re-negotiation and a new contract/addendum be presented in writing.

Save your paperwork, paperwork is king. 

  1. Ask for a detailed project projection

If your project is going to last three months or more or even less you should know what the weekly deliverables are. Deliverables should always be attached to payment. These should be written down and attached to your contractual agreement.

A contractor who gets paid when he delivers has an extra incentive to deliver. 

  1. Ask for a detailed estimate

Many people begin a project with a summary of resources and deliverables over an agreed time-period however you must also get a detailed estimate, which should include:

  1. Cost of management of the project
  2. Wage projection for the period, which clearly lists the number of workers on the project, their expected number of hours and their salary over the period. Every single person that is to be paid goes on this list, so you can calculate your weekly wage bill.
  3. An estimate of materials – each item listed as needed should have a cost attached. Once you have the time, you should review your materials list and purchase items yourself; feel free to ask your company representative to recommend the places to purchase items or give you advice on the selections or even come with you. Some items e.g. tiles, toilets sets, external brick design really need your personal touch and should be done in collaboration with the company.

It’s your money; ask how it is being spent and don’t be afraid to spend it.

  1. Ask for receipts

Never relinquish money unless you have a corresponding signed and/or stamped (company stamped) document that can be held up in court.

Make sure you can account for every transaction.

 Ask about payment options

This is where your detailed estimate comes in handy, at a glance you can see the actual spend needed to complete the project. So let’s say you have been presented that in three months the project will be completed and the deliverable will be met at the cost of $50,000.

Option 1 – Pay the full fee upfront – Never take this option.

Option 2 – Pay a down payment and complete payment in three/four equal parts – this is acceptable once it is hinged on deliverables and not just random dates.

Option 3 – Discuss payments options: You don’t have to break the bank and can ask for a fluid contract where you pay as the project moves along.

For example you can agree to pay:  

  • Cost of management of the project: in equal parts, again this should be on deliverables
  • Wage projection for the period: Since you know the wage bill you can make a two weeks deposit and agree to keep that ratio constant, always two weeks in advance.
  • Materials: This is an area where you can order your own materials to keep your materials bill down.
  1. Negotiate for better deadlines if you need it.

Always ask if it can be done faster, contractors give themselves more time than needed. If time is an issue, say. Don’t just hope for the best. If you need to move into the house by Christmas, they may think giving you the keys Christmas Eve is ideal when you really want it a week before.

Be precise with deadlines, speak dates and time and send them a follow-up email confirming what was discussed so you have it in writing.  

  1. Visit the site regularly

Keep checking on those deliverables and speak up if an item promised in week 1 isn’t on schedule. Ask how is this going to affect the end of the project? A contractor who knows you’ll notice if something is off will try harder to make sure nothing goes wrong.

I never forgot my father saying, you have to finish this week. If you don’t, you pay yourself to finish it next week.

  1. Include an exit clause

Your contract should include a way to get out of it. The project may not work out to be what you expected and you may need to get your money back and move on.

Hope for the best but plan for the worst.

  1. Promise a good a bad report after the job is completed.

My granddad did his house in parts and he would say well if you do the extra room okay I will see about giving you the driveway. Test the waters. You’ve met someone new, with a good track record but you still need to test out their work ethic. Hire them to do part of the job and watch the results.

Let people prove themselves; stop taking everyone’s word on faith.

You may say this is too much for a small contractor but you know what, governments and public agencies ask for so much more and these same companies fill out the paper work because they want the job. These same companies start government’s jobs with no down payment while using your money to fund both jobs.

People will respect you when you respect yourself, your money and your ideas.

If you are thinking about starting a construction project in Trinidad or Tobago, reach out to MasFab Construction Services, they will be there with you from foundation to finish.

Email: masfabconstruction@gmail.com

Facebook: MasFab Construction Services

Mas Fab Flyer

 

WIN a free membership: SCBWI Caribbean South

The Caribbean South chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) is giving away two free annual memberships.

All you have to do is submit an unpublished children’s manuscript from any of the islands listed below that speaks about your island’s folklore or draw your very own ‘Tanti Merle’ from Paul Keens Douglas “Tanti at the Oval.”

The Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators is a professional information and networking society of over 19,000 authors, agents, editors and illustrators world wide. Based in Los Angeles, the SCBWI is the largest of its kind and has chapters in 200 regions. Our membership package is an invaluable tool for aspiring and professional writers and artists. It includes indispensable ‘how to’ articles and a directory of publishers in the field. One of the best things about SCBWI membership is the networking opportunity it presents to gain fruitful contacts the world over.

The Caribbean South chapter was launched in Trinidad in September 2005 and serves the following islands Anguilla, Saint Maarten, St Barbs, Saba, Barbuda, St Kitts and Nevis, Antigua, Guadeloupe, Montserrat, Dominica, Martinique, St Lucia, Barbados, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, Guyana, Aruba, Curacao, Bonaire, Tortuga and Trinidad and Tobago (and everything in-between)

The competition is open to non-members and members alike, and all work submitted remain the property of the author or illustrator.

The deadline to submit is November 1, 2017. 

SCBWI-2017-Competition

For further information and membership details visit http://www.scbwi.org.

 

Marsha Gomes-Mckie, Regional Advisor , Caribbean South

info@marshagomes.com

 

i did it my way

#HannibalBarca, was a Carthaginian general, considered one of the greatest military commanders in history and he committed #suicide, that part of his story irked me for very long. I just couldn’t understand how such a strong mind could do a weak thing like that. It took me years to just process it. After i read his story again and again and researched his life it occurred to me that the problem was my perception. Barca was a man who controlled his own fate, he owned life and to ask him not to own death as well was out of his character. He didn’t wait for life to unfold itself, he commanded it and he did not wait for death either: to take everything it could and in the end leave him barely human. He wanted it to be his choice and it was.

It was as simple as that.

There are so many arguments that suicide is selfish but killing thousands of people to take over someone else’s country is also selfish.

There is the argument that there is always hope, but who are you to define hope for me. What if my hope is for heaven or even hell.

There is a madness in consciousness that looks sane to everyone until you snap.

So if you aren’t ready to be that person to talk me off the ledge when i am alive don’t cry for me when i am gone, even if you tried to talk me off the ledge and i still jumped just respect that i was and ever will live in your hearts and i did it my way.  The ledge was my path.

You too, have your own choice to make and if you wait for death and live every bit of life until the end then all it means is that you did it your way. You just can’t compare different human beings and expect them to make the same choices.

Just enjoy the time you have.

#Barca #robinwilliams #allthosewhenbefore

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The truth about Climate Change

There is #climatechange.

I don’t need a scientist to verify this for me, i am alive and i can remember what my landscape used to look like and what is looks like now.

The sun is so hot some days that i feel it pushing my head down, a feeling i have never felt and then almost without warning the rain falls so hard. There is water everywhere, places where water knows it should not be but it dares me to push it back as it laughs at my surprise. Maybe the seasons have also been hit by this dark magic that permeates the people of the world to sit idly by and do nothing. Maybe it too has been hypnotized and dazed, no longer responding to stimulus or good sense.

Climate change

Like most things climate change begins with you in your community. If you think about the big picture and global warming you will be crippled. So you start small and you reverse the change that is affecting you personally.

If we all take a piece of the cake it will eventually have no cake left.

Join a Climate Support Group or follow pages for updates or start your OWN group in your area.

Caribbean Climate Trackers

NASA Climate Change

Climate Change Guide

I Heart Climate Scientists

Just begin by asking yourself: How has Climate change affected me and what am I going to do about it?

 

Marsha

Empress_Expressions

April 2017

How many more must die? Pick a number.

There is a heaviness in the world today, the people feel it even though we are afraid to admit it.

There is a deep uncertainty that leaders are still on our side. Where are the candidates of valor that we are waiting for? We elect the un-electable’ and hope for the best or better yet we ignore the electoral process entirely and still we hope for the best. It’s the first stage of dementia; to do nothing and expect something.

We have been chasing developing country status and the dream lifestyles feed to us by a wayward media and it has corrupted our natural instincts and dulled our reflexes. We see everything that is going wrong but we are moving in slow motion, hypnotized and dazed, our brains just aren’t responding to any stimulus.

What is this magic?

What is this disease?

I must snap out of it. I must hold myself and shake myself until i can feel again but it is too late because war is already on our doorsteps.

 

It would seem that my generation is doomed to see a great war worst than the wars we already know. Pieces of the war puzzle are just falling into place and like puppets they dance to the rhythm that says war, war and more war.

That thought does not make me happy.

You see citizens of countries who go to war have one particular thing in common: a government who do not speak for them. War is not a solution, it is a break down of governance and communication. War happens because of a “me” complex, there is no ‘us’ in war because if you stop to think about us, you would think. How may will die? What is an acceptable number? and no figure would be low enough but zero. So to protect “us” you will not go to war.  However since you are thinking about you (your money, your interests, your legacy, your pride), then you protect yourself and your family in your castle, in your tower with bodyguards and you leave the rest of us to fend for ourselves.

how many more must die

The question remains.

How many more must die? Pick a number you are comfortable with.

 

Marsha

Empress_Expressions 

April 2017.

Book of the Day resumes in 2017

book-of-the-day

Caribbean Books Foundation’s Book of the Day promotional book feature resumes in 2017. It will run from the 1st January to 30 November 2017. 

Books from the online catalog are chosen randomly and by genre to fill this feature and are usually set a month in advance.

Authors who join the online catalog at http://www.caribbeanbooks.org are also welcomed to request a date to be featured if the date correspondence with a book launch or book giveaway.

Caribbean Books Foundation is an international platform that connects the Caribbean Community and its Diaspora through its literature.

 

 

 

 

I like to sleep in the New Year

I like to sleep in the New Year.

I admit it’s a super lame tradition but it’s me.  I meet the New Year in spirit in my dreams and wake to find the dawn instead of the darkness of the night.

I can’t say I am never awaken by fireworks or alerts on my phone wishing me a happy new year but I generally make no plans and fall asleep before mid-night as if it was any other night. I don’t begrudge being awoken around midnight but I am usually fast asleep before most people.

Nevertheless, I am cognizance of the fact that it’s a New Year – a New Year of wonder and blessings.

Here’s wishing that everyone meet the New Year in peace and receive bountiful blessings from the most high.

Image result for happy new year in african languages

Empress_Expressions – looking to 2017

8 Tips For Enjoying The Holiday Season — Critics May Lie

You ready for it? TIP ONE 1st Breakfast You should have this when you wake up to open gifts at dawn. Something more than lemon water, please. Remember, it is Christmas and crumbs look best in between wrapping paper. TIP TWO 2nd Breakfast A little heavier than 1st breakfast, this is the morning’s main […]

via 8 Tips For Enjoying The Holiday Season — Critics May Lie